By Justin Story
Bowling Green Daily News
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Four new Bowling Green Police Department officers were sworn in this morning in a ceremony held at Bowling Green city commission chambers.
Officers Dustin Bowman, Jon Brown, Andrew Mann and Stephen Purvis are the newest recruits to the BGPD, having graduated from the Department of Criminal Justice Training Police Academy in Richmond on Friday.
The newly-sworn officers underwent a rigorous interview and testing process with the police department and completed an 18-week basic training course in Richmond.
The state pays for this training, and the new recruits are paid a salary and benefits by the city while at Richmond, city police spokesman Officer Ronnie Ward said.
Officers start at a salary of $36,179 with a benefit package worth about $29,600 that covers medical, dental, vision, worker's compensation and retirement, Ward said.
Since Jan. 1, 2012, 13 vacant positions have become available through seven retirements, three officers transferring to other agencies, two officers leaving law enforcement and another officer moving out of the state.
According to Ward, all of those vacancies have been filled.
It costs $4,800 to outfit a new officer in a new uniform, but that cost does not include an officer's car, radio or firearms, which are already in the BGPD's inventory, Ward said.
Several of the new officers' family members attended this morning's ceremony, along with many fellow BGPD officers.
All of the officers had their badge pinned on to their uniform by a relative, with Mann selecting his great-grandmother, Georgia May Hanes, to pin his badge.
Mann kneeled so that his great-grandmother, who sat in a wheelchair, could pin the badge onto his uniform. At one point, Hanes joked that she hoped she didn't stick Mann with the needle on the badge.
Hawkins' remarks at the beginning of this morning's ceremony touched on the city police department's efforts to hire officers of exemplary character to complement their skills in the field.
"We can teach you all the skills necessary to be a police officer," BGPD Chief Doug Hawkins said. "One of the things we cannot do that we seek in these young people is the quality of their character."
Hawkins illustrated this sentiment by relating how a few years ago, when there were eight vacancies at the police department, only four applicants were deemed acceptable candidates and hired on with the BGPD.
"At the end of the process, the thing that is most important to me is the quality of character that these gentlemen represent," Hawkins said about the new officers. "They are not here by accident."
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Copyright 2013 Bowling Green Daily News